Way back in the yore type days, I quit my job at the Peabody Coal Company and took employment in Evansville, Indiana with Guidon Games (Don & Julie Lowry). Part of the condition of my employment was that I was to move to Maine with them. Eventually my family and I ended up out in Stockton Springs ME. Don's store was in his barn in Belfast, Maine. It was a great time. We played Tractics outdoors using minitanks when the odor from the chicken factory wasn't too bad... but I've drifted a bit.
At my house in Stockton Springs, there was a room devoted to gaming. Every weekend good buddy Richard Hamblen would travel down from (I think it was Bangor) and we'd game into the wee hours of the night. He's a first rate game designer, and one of his gems really caught my attention. It was called the HUNS, and it involved a world where each nation was composed of a set of cards representing people and places and so on (sound familiar?)
After I left Maine and went back to abnormal life as a Prison Clerk at Menard State Pen. I began designing my own version of the Huns. This was in 1974. It grew slowly over the years, played now and then by the guys in the SIUSGS and other friends, but usually the game stayed in a brown bag.
When I went to work for TSR, my games started coming out of the bags, but I was never able to sell it to them... until the late 80's when Jim Ward became some kind of lesser grand poobah there with power. He liked the Khan Game and persuaded TSR to do it. I wrote Richard and he agreed. The end result was a wonderful game (rather poorly packaged).
For those of you with Forgotton Realms maps... The Great Khan Game is what goes on in the Whamite Isles.